Another look at meat consumption and mortalityBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/eating-meat/MY02417
- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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April 17, 2013
Another look at meat consumption and mortality
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
With the various types of diets, fad and otherwise, promoted in the media it may not seem clear which is the healthiest. Is it healthier to eat a vegetarian diet or a low-carb diet, like the old-school Atkins Diet that consisted mainly of meat and little else?
Sure, in the short-term those who ate the Atkins Diet lost weight and even saw some improvement in their cholesterol levels. But over time many meat lovers found they missed their veggies and grains. And long-term data isn't available to support this type of diet. However, there is good data that supports the benefits of a plant-based diet for improving long-term health by lowering cancer and heart disease risk. You may not be ready to give up meat yet, though, and that's okay.
In small amounts, meat may be beneficial for health. Meat is an important source of nutrients, such as protein, iron, zinc and several B vitamins. Concerns about meat have arisen from studies that found an overall increase in early deaths in people with high intakes of red and processed meats.
A recent study found that processed meat is potentially more harmful than red meat. One possible reason is that processed meats, sausages, salami and bacon have more saturated fat. As part of the processing, the visible or saturated fat is ground into the meat. Whereas the visible fat on red meat is often removed before it is cooked or eaten. Saturated fat has been linked to a higher risk of coronary heart disease.
Another possible explanation is that the processing — salting, curing, smoking and the addition of compounds such as nitrites — may lead to more exposure to carcinogens. Carcinogens are compounds that cause cancer.
What does this mean for you and your Saturday morning breakfast or favorite Italian meat sandwich? You don't have to give them up completely. Keep your quantities small, to less than 20 grams a day. What is 20 grams? It's less than an ounce (which equals about 28 grams). A cooked slice of bacon is 8 to 16 grams. An average slice of salami is 9 to 12 grams. And a thin, round slice of pepperoni is about 2 grams.
It's all about reframing your image of a healthy meal. Instead of meat with a side of veggies and grain, flip the quantities around. Enjoy the flavors of meat as an accent. Add them to salads or grain-based dishes. Be creative, have fun and enjoy.
To your health,
- Rohrman S, et al. Meat consumption and mortality: Results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. BMC Medicine 2013;11:63. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/11/63. Accessed April 15, 2013.